Andrew Fairlie announces retirement due to terminal cancer

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th November 2018

In a piece on The Times website released in the early hours of the morning, it was reported that chef Andrew Fairlie is stepping down from his restaurant at Gleneagles – the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars.

Andrew, 54, has been battling cancer since his diagnosis in 2005 and has undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery for the disease but despite this, doctors have now sadly confirmed that the brain tumour is terminal.

Struggling with fatigue and mobility issues, Andrew will be stepping down from Restaurant Andrew Fairlie on Friday February, 1 2019.  Head chef Stevie McLaughlin will take the reins of the kitchen at Gleneagles.

He told The Times: “Giving up my restaurant kitchen was the hardest part,” after bidding farewell to colleagues on Saturday.

“The fact that I’ll never be back, never have that buzz and atmosphere of the kitchen again, was very emotional. But it’s dangerous for me to be there. I’d just be a liability.

He added: “I had so many sleepless nights worrying that my life’s work would turn to dust. My worst case scenario was that Gleneagles would take back the space and give it to some other chef. I am very grateful that it is not the case and that my legacy will continue.”

At the age of 15, Andrew began his training in Perth, where he was born, under Chef Keith Podmore. After writing to over twenty-two restaurants, Andrew received just three replies, all rejecting his application. Keith Podmore mentioned the upcoming Roux scholarship and advised Andrew to apply for it, which he won. Aged twenty, Andrew was awarded the first Roux Scholarship, offering him the opportunity to train with legendary chef Michel Guerard at Les Prés d'Eugénie in Gascony.

After working for Guerard, he was sent to work in Paris’ Hotel Crillion, where Guerard himself had worked at the time the restaurant had two Michelin stars. Being the only foreigner, The Crillon proved a hard kitchen for Andrew, though in just 18 months, he was promoted.

Andrew then went on a winter season at a one star restaurant as a Sous Chef at Chez Nano in Megeve, by the end of a tough season he knew he wanted to experience something different, he had been in France for nearly 3 years at that point and Michel Roux phoned him up asking if he wanted to join a project in Scotland.

Gleneagles came through sheer chance, Andrew went to the hotel for an Academy Culinaire meeting and met Alan Hill, the Food and Beverage Director, and as Andrew arrived early he had the opportunity to speak with him and just mentioned how it was a shame that somewhere as iconic as Gleneagles didn’t have a smaller niche restaurant like it used to have which planted a seed with Alan. Eight years later the food style has evolved and was awarded their first star pretty much immediately and awarded the second star after two years of Andrew opening the restaurant.

Messages of support from Andrew's friends and colleagues have been pouring in:

Andrew has replied with thanks to the messages, tweeting:

and he added shortly afterwards:

Andrew was the first chef to be filmed for The Staff Canteen Featured Chef series and on behalf of the whole team we'd like to say thank you for being an amazing and inspiring chef who has helped so many young people in the industry launch their own careers. This news is incredibly sad. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th November 2018

Andrew Fairlie announces retirement due to terminal cancer